LAS VEGAS -- Jarrid Famous, an undrafted free-agent center from South Florida who is playing for the Wizards at summer league, has gradually made his presence felt. After their first victory Tuesday following two terrible losses to open tournament play, Famous has remained a constant.
"It's funny, I told Jarrid before the game, 'Jarrid, I run no plays for you. Literally I run no plays. And you always find ways to affect the game,'" assistant coach Roy Rogers, who was at the helm for the 85-79 win vs. the Dallas Mavericks when Famous had 16 points and nine rebounds. "We try to keep encouraging him to keep going to the glass, keep setting screens, keep rolling because he does all the dirty things that don't show up that give us an opportunity to win."
All summer league statistics should be regarded with caution because the fact is, like D-League numbers, they don't necessarily mean anything. The competition is smaller, not as physical or as fast as the NBA itself. Most summer league players won't play a day in the big league, but what it can mean is Famous getting a serious look for training camps that start in September. When the Wizards had Khem Birch last summer, his performance earned him a spot at camp with the Miami Heat though he didn't stick.
The NBA is going smaller, using three-point shooting power forwards and three-guard lineups. But rebounders, many of whom can be had for cheap initially, are needed to clean up the mess and get extra shots. They, too, can command star-like salaries. Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers recently turned down $52 million and probably will get significantly more this summer.
"I just go out there giving it my all, effort and stuff like that," said Famous, who is averaging 15.6 points and 10 rebounds in three summer league games. "As far as running plays, I don't need that. I just go out there and given energy and play hard. It'll all pan out in the end.
"It's not really stressful to be here. It's a blessing to play at a high level. ... I don't believe in stress. It's all good. ... I know my role is to rebound, set hard screens, run the floor and just be active every play. Don't take a play off."
The Wizards still are in good position to make another move. They have the maximum 15 guaranteed contracts for the 2015-16 regular season so there's no room. However, they could in theory release DeJuan Blair, who had a dismal inaugural season with the Wizards as a backup center, pay him his guaranteed money, and acquire an undrafted big man like Famous for the rookie minimum and still avoid the luxury tax threshold.
Of course, another team with more cap room could be able to offer more. Just because Famous plays for the Wizards at summer league, there are no strings attached to him. The same goes for every other player here without a deal other than a summer contract.
For Famous, the important thing is he knows his identity. He came out of school in 2011 and has bounced around four different D-League teams. In this summer league run, he has had 21 points for the Wizards on seven shots, 10 points on five shots and 16 points on 12 shots.
"In college, I really didn't know who I was. One day I wanted to be LeBron James, score all the points," Famous said. "Next day I wanted to be a rebounder. It was a lot of flip-flopping, going through the process, let me know who I am as a player and I just worked on that. Now, it's showing out."